Water flooded a masked boy’s lungs as the Phantom Thieves’ latest heist had unceremoniously concluded in abject failure.
‘Why…?’ idle thoughts floated above his descending body.
The Cruiser of Pride began its shameful descent to the bottom of the cognitive ocean that had swallowed Japan amidst the aftermath of the palace ruler, Masayoshi Shido. The Phantom Thieves emerged victorious with their bout against the Shadow and they were rewarded with the treasure, a ship’s wheel.
‘How did this…’ the black-haired teen’s recalled the final dry moments the thieves shared.
The palace rapidly deteriorated even before the treasure was taken and the ticking clock for the thieves accelerated onwards. Escape became an increasingly fleeting possibility at each corner in the ship only robbed them of hope.
‘We are not going to die like this!’ Morgana’s high-pitched voice echoed in his mind. Those were the last words spoken with any hope present from the thieves. Immediately after, an explosion rocked the ship that destabilized the ceiling overhead and collapsed what little stability the structure had left. Only the intelligible, panicked screams of teenagers were left to fill the void left by whatever hope they had accumulated.
‘Mona, Skull, Panther, Fox, Queen, Oracle, Noir…’ the leader of the thieves spared his final thoughts to the teammates he had failed to lead to safety.
‘Crow…’ as well as the one he had failed to avenge.
Dreamless, permanent sleep awaited him.
Or so Joker thought.
“Giving up so easily?” bored and apathetic best characterized the greeting. The leader of the Phantom Thieves attempted to open his eyes to meet this apparition head-on and surprised himself at his success.
Before Joker stood a boy with a mop of blue hair that concealed his right eye. When both of his eyes locked on the other boy’s singular one on display, a wave of familiarity crashed in his mind. Joker attempted to open his mouth but that motion betrayed him and no noise was made on his end.
Given no reason to stop, the bluenette continued “You’ll give wild cards a bad name…” He proceeded to scratch the back of his head seemingly in annoyance. “…and you didn’t even reach the final one.”
The blue-haired boy momentarily breaks eye contact and peers behind Joker “Oh, there’s two of you?”
‘Two?’ the frizzy-haired one of the two attempted to turn his head to no avail.
A single-eye analyzed his stillness with the intensity he’d never encountered before though the only muttered a simple, if not bemused, sigh. Joker still could not shake off the feeling of familiarity emanating from this… person, if he could call him that. Whether it be his appearance, mannerisms or tone, he could not help but be reminded of something that felt long past. His train of thought was cut short by the bored voice once again.
“Sending two back? What a pain…” a shake of the bluenette’s head accompanied the complaint.
“Since I’m the only one here… I’ll be the one to ask.” with the snap of the bluenette’s fingers, a contract materialized before Joker alongside a pen that he now clasped in his right hand.
“Sign your name there, it’s a contract and this will help you two avoid making the same mistakes again.”
“Don’t worry, all it says is you’ll accept full responsibility for your actions.” Joker narrowed his eyes at that statement. Or at least he felt he did, he was unsure what part of his body he still had control over.
“You know, the usual stuff.”
He wrote down his name, Ren Amamiya, and an awful nostalgia washed over him.
“Déjà vu, right?” the bluenette took the contract and pen from Ren’s hands as soon as he finished. “Don’t think too hard on it… I’ve done this before too.”
The vaguest hint of a smirk formed on the contract holder's lips.
“Oh, things may be a bit different this time. Don’t be too scared at the new faces though…”
A long moment passed between the two of them as he pretended to think over what he would describe said new faces.